One of China's largest lithium hydroxide and carbonate producers, Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group, is boosting its investment in Australian lithium producer Core Exploration.
Sichuan has used its Yahua International subsidiary to give Core Exploration $1.4 million as share placement – in addition to $2m cash it pumped into the firm last year.
Core said the move “reflects the strong level of interest from potential off takers and development partners for the high grade spodumene” at the Finniss Lithium Project near Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory.
“The additional funds raised by this placement will provide Core with the ability to expand its regional exploration and resource focussed drilling within its Finniss Lithium Project, with the ultimate objective to delineate further high grade spodumene resources to support a long-life mining operation capable of producing a high quality spodumene concentrate,” Core said.
Core said its 2018 drilling campaigns “are expected to commence imminently”.
According to Core, the Yahua Group is one of China's largest lithium producers “and has significant expansion plans”.
Yahua Group's existing operations include 12,000 tons per annum (tpa) lithium hydroxide refinery and a 6,000tpa lithium carbonate refinery. The group also has plans to expand its production to 50,000tpa of lithium salt production.
“As a major supplier of lithium salts in China, Yahua Group has long term stable relationships with a number of the large downstream customers of lithium batteries and has broad marketing and distribution channels,” Core said.
BBB reported last year that Core had signed a framework agreement to negotiate terms for a direct shipping ore offtake agreement with Sichuan.
Earlier this year, China’s largest lithium compounds producer Ganfeng Lithium was reported as looking to raise $1 billion from an initial public offering in Hong Kong to expand its battery-related businesses.